tv Inside Politics CNN January 7, 2018 5:00am-6:00am PST
russia revelations. >> there's been no collusion. there's been no crime. >> inside the report involving the president, the attorney general and what the special counsel found out. plus -- >> they called me a great man last night. he obviously changed his tune pretty quick. >> from friend to foe. bannon's uncertain future after a bombshell book goes all-in on trump and his fitness for office. a week into the new year, a
camp david summit setting the 2018 agenda with the midterms in mind. >> i've never been more optimistic about an immigration reform proposal making it to the president's desk than i am right now. >> "inside politics," the biggest stories sourced by the best reporters now. welcome to "inside politics." i'm nia-malika henderson. john king is off today. to our viewers here at home and around the world, thanks for being with us. we begin the week with the fitness for office question. in a series of truly remarkable tweets on saturday, president trump defended his competency and his mental acuity. he tweeted this early saturday from camp david, now that russian collusion after one year of intense study has proven to be a total hoax on the american public, the democrats and their lap dog, the fake news mainstream media, are taking out the old ronald reagan playbook
and screaming mental instability and intelligence. he continued, actually, throughout my life, my two greatest assets have been mental stability and being, like, really smart. crooked hillary clinton also played these cards very hard and as everyone knows, went down in flames. he went on, i went from very successful businessman to top tv star to president of the united states on my first try. i think that would qualify as not smart but genius and a very stable genius at that. later on saturday, reporters asked the president why he felt the need to take to twitter. trump took the opportunity to play defense again. >> only because i went to the best colleges or college. i went to a -- i had a situation where i was a very excellent student. came out and made billions and billions of dollars. became one of the top business people. went to television. and for ten years was a tremendous success, as you probably having heard.
ran for president one time and won. >> here to share their reporting and their insights, we've got julie herbville davis of "the new york times." josh green, mary katherine ham "the federalist" and cnn's jeff zeleny. thanks to you all for being with us this morning. jeff, i'm going to start with you on this. really extraordinary that we're talking about the president's mental acuity, in that he was responding in the way that he is. >> no question. and we're only at the end of the first week of 2018. so i think that is sort of a good framing for this year. and the reason we're still talking about this is because the president is talking about this. he is weighing in himself. he could, unlike any other figure on this planet, change the conversation. presidents can change conversations by talking about anything. he has decided to focus his attention on this very issue. and by sending out that early morning storm of tweets, which you were just reading there,
from camp david, a snowy camp david, a frigid morning, you have to wonder what is going on in his mind. i think we have a fairly good window. he's very, you know, susceptible to anyone saying he's not smart. think if he's smart or not, that's not the issue, temperament is a bigger question here as he's in the office office. there are aides and advisers around him who talked to michael wolff in that book who expressed concern about this. now this isn't the first time we've heard this. we've heard this a lot before. but by the president responding like this, i'm not sure he answers, the question, but i think it's a temperament issue that is a bigger worry to many republicans in this stoun was they want to talk about their agenda and other things. clearly the russian investigation is in the president's head. it's gotten under his skin here. if this first week of 2018 is any indication, it's going to be a distracting year. >> and michael wolff on friday
talked about the book. it came out. they pushed the publication up to friday. here is what he had to say in terms of his reporting. >> according to your reporting, everyone around the president, senior advisers, family members, every single one of them questions his intelligence and fitness for office. >> let me put a -- put a marker in the sand here, 100% of the people around him. >> julie, that is quite a bold claim to make. >> absolutely. and it's very clear from the -- this book that he spoke to a wide range of people. now the white house is pushing back and saying he didn't have the access he said he had. the president saying i never talked to him or i didn't talk to him for very long, but it is clear, i mean, it is difficult to get people on the record or even on background to make statements about the president's mental fitness, about his intelligence, but what you can glean from talking to people at the white house the length some of his aides and advisers go to to try to control him and keep
him sort of on the path of being on message, being on the agenda and not saying erratic things, not doing erratic things, and that certainly points you to the conclusion that there are many people around him in his inner circle who have concerns about the way that he behaves and the way -- and his state of mind at key moments when he's going to be out in public and talking about important issues. and so i don't think it's that -- it doesn't take you, too far to extrapolate that perhaps michael wolff got these people talking in a much more elaborate way about what the basis of those concerns are. i mean, i wouldn't go so far as to say 100%, but there is clearly a concern around the president about these issues. >> and rex tillerson, who, of course, is the secretary of state talked about this in an interview with elise labbot on friday. here is how he responded to these the questions about the president. >> everybody in this book, you know, questions he's mental fitness. >> i've never questioned his mental fitness. i have no reason to question his
mental fitness. >> josh, how effective is that pushback? >> i don't know it's hugely effective. the fact that these questions were being asked of tillerson are fraught with significance. it's widely reported that tillerson last year called trump a moron in a meeting at the pentagon. that's a charge tillerson really didn't dispute. he never came out and said, no, i never called the president a moron. so i think that gives the sense, really support to wolff's thesis that the people around him don't have the highest opinion of his stability or his intelligence. >> and this, of course, has implications here, and the president frames it as a political argument in that it's the democrats who are basically pushing this, but it also has global implications, right? the world is watching. the president of the united states and theresa may addressed this. she got a question about the president.
>> in the states, there are quite serious questions being raised by some people about his mental state. do you think they're serious? >> as i say, when i deal with president trump, what i see is somebody who is committed to ensuring that he is taking decisions in the best interests of the united states. >> mk, not exactly a firm defense of president trump. >> she's had her own dustups with trump and quite cleverly sidesteps the central question there. as a person who is also, like, really smart, i want to push back on the notion we would be talking about something else. i don't think we would be talking about something else if the president wasn't tweeting this. he had a burn book come out about him, essentially, and he is always going to push back on that. what i am wary about because i have similar concerns to some of the people in the book and have been since he started running for president, the problem of confirmation bias. almost everyone in this town and many in media, almost all of them, have these concerns.
therefore when you hear those concerns, you go, oh, that confirms exactly what i was thinking. let me repeat that many, many times. i want to be careful how we weigh the reporting instances here and decide, okay, does this sound credible or not? it's going to sound possible in many, many cases. that's something i get a little concerned about in a book of this nature with trump, but he will continue to talk about it and that will prevent us in the near future from moving on from it. >> to mary katherine's point, i think the president's own response adds to that confirmation bias problem because he seems to be in pushing back on this actually confirming some of what's been said about him. he can't resist. he can't check his own impulses and things like that. i do think for foreign leaders it's a very difficult place to be, because like republican members of congress, these people have to work with this president whether they want to or not. there are a lot of things they have to get done with the united states. they can't inignore him. they can't put it to the side. they have to deal with this person. if they have concerns about
this -- either his fitness or stability, that is a major problem for them. >> i also think, though, we should put it in perfective, like you said. there is no one in the trump base who voted for trump that is bothered by this. they believe the media is piling on. in some respects, they are. this is very much a conversation happening here in washington and across the country and, indeed, around the world, but we shouldn't pretend that everyone is on -- having it. this is going to rally his supporters as well. you know, the people are making fun of him. every time he is out there on social media, he's speaking to his base, which is still very much with him. >> the thing they will note rightly, he won an election fair and square and we have a fairly rigorous process figuring out whether someone is fit. >> this was an issue in the election. >> speaking of 2016, if you look at those exit polls, a question about the president's temperament was asked, does trump have the temperament to be president? yes, 35%. no, 63%. he still won.
and, of course, there is a breakdown, a party breakdown in terms -- >> what's so interesting about those numbers is that clearly a lot of voters in 2016 agreed with wolff's sthethesis that ma he isn't the most stable guy, he isn't a genius and voted for him anyway. >> baked into the cake in some ways. >> one other point i'd make about this, too, where i think trump is correct is democrats have gleefully been pushing this notion that he's unfit, he's unstable. they summoned a yale psychiatry professorer to brief them, which is an odd thing to do because he had never spoken to him. there is a partisan effort to fan the flames on this. trump has done everything in his power to help that effort out. i was speaking to an adviser who said the problem we have is this creates a feedback loop. charges in the book, trump
responding to it and then you guys, meaning we on cable tv are going to talk about this and trump is going to see it on cable tv, get angry and keep responding to it. it's not clear exactly how he's going to move on from this. up next, trump as the negotiator in chief. his approach to working with democrats or against them on daca. and politicians, they tend to say the darnedest things. when your boss asks if you're staying on the job, a bit of advice here, always best to just senile and nod. >> will gary cohn continue to remain? >> i hope. where is gary? is he here. gary? did you hear the question, gary, in this beautiful hangar that is freezing. >> i did not, so. >> will gary cohn continue and remain in the administration? i hope so. if he leaves, i'm going to say i'm very happy that he left, okay? all right? come here, gary.
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the president and top republicans are spending the weekend at camp david having out their priorities and their differences. >> from a right of center point of view, 2017 was the most consequential year in the many years that i've been here in congress. we had a great planning session for 2018. we hope that 2018 will be a year of more bipartisan cooperation and the president's agenda. >> but what might make 2018
bipartisanship problematic, passing a budget deal that includes a daca fix. >> we also obviously wanted to budget, so we went into daca and how we're going to do and we hope that we're going to be able to work out an arrangement with the democrats. i think it's something that they'd like to see happen. we want the wall. the wall is going to happen or we're not going to have daca. we want to get rid of chain migration. very important. and we want to get rid of the lottery system. in addition to that, we want some money for funding. we need some addition at border security. >> mk, you heard the president's wish list there in terms of daca. how likely is it he's going to be able to get those things and reach a deal with the democrats? >> it's not a question of whether republicans can stomach daca, most in leadership and the president posing a few years ago in photos with the d.r.e.a.m.ers where not mind making that deal. but it's going to be how much enforcement, action or money democrats can stomach.
he's going to have to get something that is at least a faint at the wall for his supporters. in the past, that's been the moment the ann coulters of the the world have turned him on him i think there has got to be enforcement there. there has always been a weird dynamic where trump could be a nixon to china on comprehensive immigration reform. the issue for many right of center people, rightly, they don't trust the federal government to do the enforcement part. they trust him more than they have trusted people in the past. i think he ideologically wouldn't mind getting a big deal like that done, but it has to have that trust part. so whether we get there or not is a whole other question, but it is one of these weird possibilities that a trump presidency creates. >> and he's floating what he wants in terms of this wall, the spending, $33 billion on a border security plan. a ten-year investment plan. about $18 billion for the border wall. never mind i guess mexico at one point was supposed to pay for it. josh, i want to go to you on this. the democrats, and you've heard
some democrat activists particularly say that democrats should really stick it to the republicans and shut down the government. this is what dick durbin had to say about where these negotiations are. >> i think we're going to have a very productive 2018. again, the state department gets stronger evidence understanding what we're trying to do. and i look forward to having a very, very successful 2018. >> for the whole year? >> i intend to be here for the whole year. >> has the president given you any indication you won't be around for awhile? >> none. >> none whatsoever. >> none whatsoever. >> a little mistake there. dick durbin actually said the latest white house demand on immigration, $18 billion for a border wall, he called it outrageous. what's your sense, josh, of the democratic calculus here? >> well, there had been hope among democratic activists that democrats would actually shut down the government or threaten to last year at the end of the
year. and it turns out that the sentiment to move in that direction wasn't as strong as a lot of the activists imagined because there are a lot of red state democratic senators up for re-election next year who maybe aren't willing to jump off a cliff to support something quite so extreme. so democrats absolutely need to get some kind of a deal. they are not going to give, you know, $18 billion for a border wall or do anything short of some kind of legalization for the daca kids. one positive, though, as far as reaching a bipartisan deal is the figure in republican politics and in trump's orbit who is most adamant about the idea he could not legalize the daca kids and had to build a border wall was steve bannon. we've seen bannon blow himself up in the last week or so and trump kind of coming out actively on twitter insulting him. so that's one voice that i think will be silenced, which ought to open up a little bit more room for some kind of a deal to happen.
>> and more broadly, julie, the gop in 2018, this is obviously what they're trying to talk about here at camp david. what does it look like more broadly in terms of bipartisanship? all sorts of things on the list there, infrastructure, daca, zblobls listen, think they realized given the reality in the senate in particular they're going to have to have some measure of bipartisanship to get this stuff done. if there is going to be an immigration deal, they need democrats. if there is going to be a infrastructure bill or welfare reform as the president has said, they're going to need democrats to come along. and the president's going to do a lot more than he did last year in terms of courting some degree of centrist democratic support for his agenda. he pretty much wrote that all off for the tax bill and they got it through. that's not going to be possible for a lot of other issues. >> you end up with red state democrats like manchin saying after the tax bill, for instance, trying to answer questions why was this not good for west virginia? he's like, well, there are actually are some good parts. you don't want to be on that
side of the issue too often. something like daca with democratic activists you don't want to say no, no, no, no, no when you could get it. >> it's a good point. i think that the politics for some democrats, some red state democrats in 2018 will be to work on things because it's risky for a heidi heitkamp and joe manchin and others to, you know, be completely on the anti side of this. at the same time, we have not seen any substantive meetings, really, with a bipartisan group of republican -- of congressional leaders. it would be interesting if the president had chuck schumer and nancy pelosi out to camp david. they've had a few meetings. >> chuck and nancy, right. >> we'll see more in the next couple of weeks -- that is the question here. president trump as you were saying earlier, he is the one who has been both sides of the political parties. >> all the sides. >> genius. he has the capacity to pull this together. his base will restrict him from doing so. >> this courting has to do more
than just inviting democrats up to camp david. what democrat everyons have imp there have to be policy concessions. >> citizenship. >> if you look where trump moved, it's been more in the direction of the right wing rather than democrats. there has to be some sort of a course correction in order to bring a meaningful number of democrats aboard. >> quickly, jeff, i want you to jump in here in terms of the staffing at the white house. that's something been discussed. you saw gary cohn talk about it. >> i think we see some people eager to move back to the private sector. gary cohn a top example. a lot of people expected him to leave. he didn't necessarily say he'll stay for a long time, but he seemed to indicate he was happy with the job. the question here, though, is, who is in the ranks to fill some of these positions? there are going to be vacancies. there is not a huge line out the door -- >> to be in this administration. >> of qualified people. think that is the real issue,
specially on the economic side. there are a lot of people who do not want this drama. potential legal consequences, et cetera, here, so i think staffing is a huge issue in the second year of his term. >> some of the news this week was tillerson, who seemed to be exiting, says he's on for 2018 at least. we'll see what happens with that. >> i mean, his demise has been reported now for months and he's still there. i think he could stay around a longer time than we think, at least through a couple more seasons, perhaps into the summer. >> all righty. we'll see. coming up, the special counsel has significant details surrounding the drama attorney general jeff sessions' recusal from the russia investigation and white house critics say it all points to obstruction. there are two types of people in the world. those who fear the future... and those who embrace it. the future is for the unafraid.
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welcome back. president trump is defending himself, saying he's done nothing wrong regarding the russia investigation. >> everything that i've done is 100% proper. that's what i do, is i do things proper. and, you know, i guess the collusion now is dead, because everyone found that after a year of study there has been absolutely no collusion. there has been no collusion between us and the russians. >> trump is, of course, responding to a "new york times" report that says he asked white house counsel don mcgahn to urge attorney general jeff sessions to stay on the russia probe. sources say that mcgahn reached out to sessions in march of 2017 and tried to dissuade him from recusing himself from the investigation but sessions, of course, stepped aside anyway. now a senior administration official is telling cnn that then chief of staff reince priebus and then press secretary
sean spicer were among those who participated in calls between the white house and the justice department. democrats claim this is further evidence that trump's white house was trying to get in the way of a fair investigation. >> this excellent reporting certainly indicates a key element of an obstruction of justice case. jeff sessions ought to explain this kind of contact from the white house. the white house staff ought to be called before the grand jury. and i would predict there will be convictions and indictments early in the new year. >> julie, this was partly your excellent reporting, and the piece very much talks mostly about obstruction of justice. >> well, right. i mean, you heard the president say earlier there has been no collusion. that's not a conclusion that bob mueller has come to, what he's looking into is another issue altogether, whether the president and the people around him tried to obstruct justice. one of the key pieces of information he's looking at, one
of the big episodes he's trying to make sense of is the firing of comey and jeff sessions' recusal. and so the revelation that he had the white house lawyer, this is the white house counsel, not his personal lawyer, but go and try to lobby the attorney general to stay in his job, to keep control of this investigation, is something that he is exploring. he's also looking at what white house lawyers did in response to the president's determination, they understand, to fire the fbi director, which included basically keeping from him the key piece of information that he didn't actually need a reason as the president of the united states to fire the fbi director. and so these are all threads that mueller is looking at to figure out whether there was an effort to obstruct the investigation by the president that was maybe even -- and that there was maybe even an attempt by white house lawyers to stop those efforts, understanding how improper that would be. >> and sessions, again, featured prominently in this article. and part of the article says that two days after mr. comey's
testimony, an aide to mr. sessions approached a capitol hill staff member, asking whether the staffer had any derogatory information about the fbi director. the attorney general wanted one negative article a day in the news media about mr. comey, according to a person with knowledge of the meeting. josh, what do you make of that? how does that make the attorney general look? >> well, it makes him look bad because it looks like there was a concerted basically smear campaign being run from the justice department or the people in the administration to impugn and tarnish the reputation of fbi director james comey. reading between the lines, the effort seems to have been designed to make him look bad and kind of give trump a pretext to get rid of him, which he did. >> trump keeps talking about collusion, as you said. here he is again, the president, on saturday talking about collusion and essentially saying there is no collusion. >> there's been no collusion. there's been no crime.
and in theory, everybody tells me i'm not under investigation. maybe hillary is, i don't know, but i'm not. we have been very open. we could have done it two ways. we could have been very closed and it could have taken years. sort of like when you've done nothing wrong, let's be open and get it over with. honestly, it's very, very bad for our country. it's making our country look foolish and this is a country that i don't want looking foolish. >> jeff, how effective is that? >> i think he may be right in terms about making the country look foolish here. this has been sort of a central thing, but the president has said repeatedly he's not under investigation, again, sidestepping the point of obstruction of justice. that now appears to at least be a central focus of this mueller probe, but by the president standing in front of the house and senate leadership, who both have investigations and inquiries going on about the russian meddling, he says, you know, it just simply isn't true that we know there isn't
collusion. we don't know. it's still under investigation. we don't know that there was. we don't know that there wasn't. but by the president still talking about this repeatedly, it, i think, makes clear that he was told by his attorneys that this would be over -- his role in his would be over initially thanksgiving, then the end of the year, now it's obviously still going on. i believe talking to a variety of people who talk to the president that this is the underlying cause or one of them of his frustrations so far this week in the early hours of 2018. is that he is frustrated this is still going on. but as much as he says, you know, it's simply a hoax, that's not going to end it. it is simply complicating it for everyone. >> mk, it certainly plays with the base and the folks who support donald trump. >> i mean, he has a point on the collusion part of this, which is, look, he was told by comey, even though it was reported he wasn't told by comey, that he wasn't the focus of this. and it has been a year. and with everybody happy to leak thatically, we don't hear a ton about actual sort of giant
global conspiracy to overturn an american election. that being said, the president does not do things proper. which is what is going to get them in trouble. he does not think about the propriety of talking to each of these justice department officials. he does not worry about that. and he does what he feels is his best counterpunch, which is not always in the right. so we may find out that's how he got himself in trouble and that's the obstruction of justice part of this. >> the other thing i think set trump off on this topic this week and gives mueller additional things to look into is once again, this wolff book in which steve bannon is quoted as describing this meeting between jared kushner, paul manafort and donald trump jr. as treasonous. that goes directly to the issue of collusion. i think one of the reasons trump is out there, you know, repeating there is no collusion is that there are stories out there in the media suggesting
maybe there was. this is his chief white house strategist. >> steve bannon did something that really undermined the entire argument for a year. the white house and the president have said no collusion. by steve bannon using those words, unpatriotic, as well he undercuts the argument. >> i think that's why he got the very dramatic brush-off. not the stuff with the kids. this is the thing -- >> agreed. >> that is in the president's head and bothered him immensely. i would caution, again, with the confirmation bias, treating bannon as a reliable narrator, which we have never done before we should be careful about. >> we're going to get to bannon a bunch in the following block. i want to turn again to sessions, right. it seems like one of the things that is happening with sessions. he's always been on thin ice, but at this point you've got house republicans now suggesting that he should step down. here is what jim jordan had to say. >> i like jeff sessions. i just want you to do your job.
we expected a different process and treatment and a different justice department when you took over, but, unfortunately, we've getting the same kind of slow walking on witness access, document production. so that's what we want to see happen. >> julie, the president said he stands by jeff sessions. what does this mean for sessions questi future. >> well, it's not clear. days following that recusal, he was clearly enraged. he gave him the silent treatment for awhile. he wouldn't take his calls. that relationship seemed to stabilize. he isn't at camp david this weekend. >> we noted that, right. >> we has a key role in some of the things they're discussing, including daca and other things. but whatever that says about the here and now, i do think that a decision has mau been made or was made at some point at the white house and maybe by the president himself it makes sense to keep him where he is.
if the drumbeat intensifies and there is a real call for him to be gone, they may rethink that. all the calls for him to come back to capitol hill and testify again because of this reporting, that may change. think for now there has been a decision at some level it's better to keep him where he is. he is very loyal to the president. >> imagine confirmation process for a new attorney general. that is something this white house does not want. it's the best reason i think to keep someone in place, even though the president clearly still, you know, furious at him. >> mk, i want to get you in quickly here. one of the thing that probably pleases people about the justice department under sessions, at least some people, is that they are apparently investigating the clinton foundation and any sense that there might be quid pro quo between the clinton foundation and hillary clinton. >> yeah, well, first of all, the improbably successful campaign to make jeff sessions a sympathetic figure continues to -- it's coming from all sides now. look, i think that the congressman would be excited about this particular inquiry. and the thing that is concerning i think is that the president,
again, his public statements make the job that these fbi guys are doing very tricky because it looks like they may be doing his bidding. >> that it's political, right. >> they're public servant who's are doing their jobs. that part of dynamic is going to continue and it makes it tough for them. up next, steve bannon's path from white house chief strategist to outside ally to finally sloppy steve. >> i have a very good relationship, as you know, with steve bannon. steve's been a friend of mine for a long time. i like steve a lot. if you have moderate to severe rheumatoid arthritis and you're talking to your rheumatologist about a medication, this is humira. this is humira helping to relieve my pain and protect my joints from further irreversible damage. this is humira helping me reach for more. humira has been clinically studied for over 20 years. humira works for many adults. it targets and blocks a specific source of inflammation that contributes to ra symptoms. humira can lower your ability to fight infections,
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>> there is a time and season for everything. and right now it's a season of war against a gop establishment. they have no interest in what you have to say. they think you're a bunch of rubes, right? they hold you in total contempt. >> that's steve bannon's 2017 highlight reel. there he is taking jabs at the gop establishment and predicting a bannon-led reckoning. but now that 2018 is here, the political climate and steve bannon's political capital look very, very different. bannon has gone from working in the white house to being essentially persona non grata with trump and possibly trump's populous base and, of course, it's all about a bombshell book, "fire and fury," that includes quotes attributed to bannon that go after the president and his family. bannon says he's still on good terms with trump, calling him a great man and saying they're actually still close. >> i don't care what trump says,
he would have never gotten in without you. >> thank you for the kind words. nothing will ever come between us and president trump and his agenda. don't worry about that. doesn't word about us and the maga agenda, president trump and i are tight on this particular agenda as we've ever been. >> trump, of course, has a very different take on their relationship. >> did steve bannon betray you, mr. president? any words about steve bannon? >> i don't know. he called me a great man last night, you know, he obviously changed his tune pretty quick. thank you all very much. thank you. i don't talk to him. i don't talk to him. i don't talk to him. that's just a misnomer. thank you. >> josh, you're the bannon expert at this table. you wrote a book on bannon. is this insurgency over? where does he go from here? >> i don't know that it's over because there were, you know, a lot of people in the republican party that were a part of this. bannon was viewed as kind of being a leader. i think it's definitely weakened by the fact he has been so publicly excommunicated and
humiliated by the president, to the degree that he has been, especially when you look at the issues coming down the pike in the next couple of weeks, daca, the issue of whether or not there will be fund for a border wall. those are issues that bannen and that wing of the party cares about and all of a sudden whether or not bannon wants to admit it, he's been thrown out. >> one republican strategist had very harsh words for bannon, and essentially predicting it's over. here he is, ed rollins. >> he set himself on fire in the middle of the south lawn and the president ran over him with a tank and put it in reverse and backed over him again. i've never seen anybody do as anything as stupid as he did. no one heard of bannon before trump got elected. i think it's the end of bannon. >> the end of bannon, jeff. this is sort of trump's bye felicia moment for bannon. can he get back in the president's good graces? >> we have seen that happened before. ed rollins and many others in this town would like it to be the end for steve bannon.
in the trump orbit, we've seen so many people rise and fall and rise, but people always seem to have a second life. the president likes to have the viewpoints from a collection of different people. i do not think it's at all improbable that several months from now it will be reported by mr. green here or someone else that they are back on the phone with each other. fwho but no doubt about it, humiliated in every way here. we'll see what happens with steve bannon, but this does create a vacuum and an opportunity for people opposed to steve bannon, particularly jared kushner, ivanka trump, others to sort of seize that. it could have policy issues as well. steve bannon has been driving the train on some of these things. the reality is people will side with trump, not bannon, at least in terms of the base, i believe. >> trump piling on tweeting michael wolff is a total loser who made up stories to sell this really boring and untruthful book. he used sloppy steve bannon who cried when he got fired and begged for his job.
now sloppy steve has been dumped like a dog by almost everyone. too bad. that's what trump had to say. and we also know that bannon apparently tried to, you know, release a statement or dafted a statement basically saying don jr. is a patriot and that this was a lefty hatchet job, the book. >> look, once you've got a nickname, it's a different ball game. i think you're right many republicans are so eager to hear he's done they may overplay this news. never say never with people coming back into the trump circle. confirming the collusion narrative seems to be such a huge deal for trump. i will say, i think bannon miscalculating if he thought he was the pied piper of populism, it was donald trump. this will change many of those primary situations where bannon was pitching, look, take a wacky candidate who says whatever you want to hear him say and we will win with that candidate. it turns out you lose with that candidate, as you did in alabama. the trick is to convince them it only works for donald trump. i think donald trump telling
those voters that as he did in that statement helps turn that page. >> josh, i wonder if you think it's possible for bannon to capture a deliver of trump's base, making this argument he's essentially been captured by the establishment, mitch mcconnell in particular. >> it's possible. the role that bannon imagined for himself had he not been blown up by this wolff book was to be the guy that held the line on issues like daca and the border wall as these things came down. he and breitbart were going to be a very loud voice putting pressure on trump not to go in that direction. now that, you know, he's been so publicly diminished, it's hard for me to see how he could play that role and exert the same kind of flus. as mk said. i don't think too many republican voters are going to look at trump and bannon and think, you know, i'm going to go side with steve bannon on this. >> julie, somebody's who is happy and smiling over this is mitch mcconnell. he seems to have won. the heart of trump in this battle between bannon and mitch mcconnell and trump. >> right. and with the very large caveat
that mary katherine and jeff both talked about, you never want to say that someone is totally out of the trump orbit because people come in and out in unpredictable ways, but, yes, steve bannon was going to be a huge thorn in mitch mcconnell's side and the side of the mainstream republican, possibly even the entire rnc this year as they look toward a very difficult environment for midterms where it was going to be a real war that bannon was holding up one side of against the establishment. they could have had some very nasty primaries with bannon being a key player. i think with him diminished, the likelihood he plays that role is less, although it's not clear to me that somebody else isn't going to come in and play that role. certainly we know that donald trump is conflicted about this. we might see the alabama situation replay itself many times over, but it's probably not going to be steve bannon who is in the pole position on those races. >> we haven't heard much from bannon since this happened. >> no, we haven't. we heard him on the radio show,
you know. i do not expect him, and josh would know more, but i do not expect steve bannon to try to keep this fight alive. he will be magnanimous towards the president and the agenda. he is not interested in exacerbating this feud. it's really extraordinary. he loves trump. >> the agenda. >> he's his creation, in his mind. >> he's absolutely grovelled before trump just in the days since trump turned on him. >> we've got to wrap it here. after the break, our reporters give you a glimpse of some stories they're working on that could make headlines, including trump's strategy for the midterm elections. will the president go into full campaign mode or stay away? i have been diagnosed with stage 4 prostate cancer. when i met my team at ctca, they put together a comprehensive plan,
that gave me an opportunity to accomplish my goals, and my dreams. learn more at cancercenter.com mayhem? whati'm a lightning rod.ere? waiting to protect your home from a lightning strike. it's my new years resolution. whatever. can you get my plane? yeah, i don't do planes. i just do lightning. ♪ what's critical thinking like? a basketball costs $14. what's team spirit worth? (cheers) what's it worth to talk to your mom? what's the value of a walk in the woods? the value of capital is to create,
we'll close by asking our reporters to share a tidbit from their notebooks so you can get a glimpse of some of the biggest political headlines in the works right now. julie, i'll start with you. >> well, we've talked a lot about this near-term negotiation on immigration reform, and a potential bill to normalize the d.r.e.a.m.ers but president trump has actually quietly been talking about a much broader immigration measure that could come later if they're able to strike that deal, which would be basically a way of addressings situation of the other 11 million undocumented immigrants who are in this country if they're not felons, finding a way to give them legal status in exchange for some future stiffer work site enforcement, bigger enforcement efforts on the border as well and even though it seems like a long shot to imagine that something like that could happen, think folks are looking at this d.r.e.a.m.er deal as a potential prelude to something a lot bigger. >> big plans ahead. we'll see what happens with
that. josh? >> steve bannon's political future obviously unclear. but so is the future of breitbart news, the right-wing website that had an outsized effect on republican politics even before trump came along. my sources tell me we may be headed to a power struggle because rebecca mercer, the billionaire investor wanted bannon out but doesn't have enough equity to force him out on her own. bannon very much wants to stay and fight. the problem is he gave up his own equity when he went into the white house. he doesn't have control of it either. it's not impossible to think that the president would weigh in on the issue as a way of further punishing his ex-strategist who he has branded sloppy steve bannon. >> it's hard to imagine breitbart without steve bannon. we'll see what happens with that. mk? >> as we saw in virginia this week, a republican won a house seat by his name being drawn out of a bowl. >> democracy. >> that determined the balance of power in the virginia house, which will stay with republicans just barely. republicans looking forward are
talking about bracing for better organization and better get out the vote and better enthusiasm from democrats. you saw it in alabama with a lot of people not knowing that ground game was what it was. virginia was sort of the precursor of that and a warning because of the balance of power in the house of delegates went almost to democrats it had been a solid majority for republicans. i think it's a lesson that the democrats learned during the obama years, when you have the guy at the top, sometimes that can wipe out a lot at the state level. something to be prepared for in 2018. >> jeff? >> i'm told that the president listened to a presentation on the midterm elections while he was at camp david this weekend with republican leaders. there was a powerpoint presentation of the house races and others in particular, and history, as we know, is not kind to the president in power. obama saw it, bush saw it, on and on, but president trump, i'm told, increasingly focusing on house and senate races. he's saying he'll do whatever he can to help, even if that means staying away.
a key thing in 2018, he'll raise money for them but will he be asked to campaign for them? will he? he has not shown a willingness to really help anyone besides himself at these rallies. we'll see what his role is in 2018. but i'm told he's focussing on it more. there is one reason, democratic-controlled house means investigations, and the other "i" word, potentially impeachment, you know, the dream of liberals. he certainly does not want to go there. >> thanks, jeff. that's it for "inside politics." again, thanks for sharing your sunday morning. stay right there. jake tapper will sit down with white house policy senior adviser stephen miller just after the break. the morning walk was so peaceful. until... it... wasn't. don't let type 2 diabetes get between you and your heart. even if you reach your a1c goal you are still at risk for heart attack or stroke. talk to your health care provider today about diabetic heart disease.
-- captions by vitac -- www.vitac.com "fire and fury," an explosive tell-all book questions the president's mental fitness. >> they say he's a moron, an idiot. >> president trump fires back. >> he's a fraud. i consider it a work of fiction. >> so what really happened inside the white house? one of president trump's closest advisers is here to tell us next. plus, under pressure? sources say president trump enlisted members of his team to pressure attorney general jeff sessions to not recuse himself from the russia investigation. now the president responds. >> everything that i've done is 100% proper. that's what i do, is i do things proper. >> does the top democrat on the house intelligence committee agree? congressman adam schiff responds in minutes. and all about t